12 October 2002
The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) would like to congratulate Mr. Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States, on having been awarded the prestigious 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.
His unstinting efforts in promoting democracy and human rights, mediating in international conflicts and endorsing economic and social development have been a constant source of motivation for our party members.
His acute sense of justice and compassion played a pivotal role in securing the releases of Shih Ming-teh from Taiwan, Pramoedya Ananta Toer and other political detainees in Indonesia in 1979 and the present South Korean President Kim Dae Jung from the clutches of oppressive regimes. Our party often draws inspiration from Mr. Carters tireless work for democracy and freedom in Asia.
As a result of his continued humanitarian work after his term of office, Mr. Carter today remains one of the most respected ex-presidents of the United States. In his memoirs, the former President wrote:
The lifting of the human spirit, the revival of hope, the absence of fear, the release from prison, the end of torture, the reunion of a family, the newfound sense of human dignity these are difficult to quantify, but I am certain that many people were able to experience them because the United States of America let it be known that we stood for freedom and justice for all people.
It was through his efforts that Shih Ming-teh, Kim Dae Jung and Cory Aquino were able to tear down dictatorships in their own countries and restore the democratic process. Mr. Carter defended his approach to foreign policy by saying:
There is no doubt that a few of these (dictators) could have been spared both embarrassment and the danger of being overthrown if they had strengthened themselves by eliminating abuses.
Dr. Chee Soon Juan, the Secretary-General of the SDP, had the honour of meeting Mr. and Mrs. Carter when he worked with the Carter Centre in observing the elections in East Timor in 1999. Dr. Chee himself would have liked to send him this congratulatory note. Unfortunately, he is in jail serving a 5-week sentence for attempting to speak up for the rights of Singapore workers at a May Day rally this year. Although the freedom of speech and assembly are basic pillars of democracy, of which Singapore is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the government has not honoured these principles.
The SDP greatly admires the former Presidents work and draws inspiration from Mr. Carters beliefs and approach towards humanity.
The SDP can only hope that such dedication and commitment to cause as worthy as this will continue to be given the greatest recognition.
Cheo Chai Chen
Singapore Democratic Party